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11 on 32: Life Lessons on my Birthday

Today is another day of evolution. While everyone slept off the turkey, dressing and mac & cheese, I turned the page from Chapter 31 to Chapter 32. So to commemorate the day, I wanted to post a blog about 11 (shoutout to November) things I've learned in 32 years. The adage says 'youth is wasted on the young. It takes life experiences for us to truly understand the things that our elders have been telling us since we were kids. The more life we live, though, the more lessons we gather. A lot of life is wasted on worry, regret, settling and anger....simply because we don't know better or we are so busy trying to live by society's standards. We are more willing to suffer under false pretenses than live in authentic happiness.

Lesson #1: All pain subsides. Take a minute to breathe. Don't react hastily.

Through life, we will all experience something that hurts us. Heartache, loss, failure, betrayal...it's inevitable. We are a quick to anger society...and slow to regret. I've said and done a lot in anger...hurt a lot of feelings...in an effort to make that person feel how I felt. What I've learned is that if I step away from the situation, calm myself down and address the issue later, half the time, it's not even as big as I originally thought.

Lesson #2: 20NOW (shoutout to my brother, Joshua)

Life is now. We get so lost in what happened in the past or the possibilities of the future that we tend to lose focus of today...the now. This is it...right now is what we have. Tomorrow or even the next minute is not guaranteed. We aren't immortal, so make the most of your now.

Lesson #3: You don't have all the answers, Sway.

We think we have all the answers...we know it all, when in honesty, we know nothing (okay, maybe not nothing...but definitely not everything). There's more than one truth, one perspective and one way. We don't always know good from bad, right from wrong, up from down. Stay open to the truth that there is truth in others.

Lesson #4: Failure is okay

We are primed from an early age to believe that failure means you are a failure when the truth is failure is inevitable. In an effort to remain failure-free, we limit the actions that we take. Failure is just evidence that you tried. Learn the lesson, dust yourself off and try again.

Lesson #5: You'll make it through.

Despite what it looks like, this will not break you. Take a nap, cry, take a shower, go work out, clear your mind, pray...and have confidence that you will make it to the other side of this storm. Even through the rain, the sun will shine again. I promise. Time heals. Things change. You will survive.

Lesson #6: Self honesty is needed.

Don't jade who you are to yourself. An honest, transparent assessment of self will take you further along than a rose-colored glass analysis. Remain honest with self and watch how your actions change. Self accountability is required in today's world.

Lesson #7: The pursuit of perfection makes for a boring life.

Perfection is unattainable because it doesn't exist, but that does not stop people from trying to reach it. The pursuit of perfection causes you to miss out on life. Embrace the imperfections...they make you real.

Lesson #8: Make everyday count.

We know not the day nor the hour. Live each day like it's your last.

Lesson #9: Settling is for bad debt, court cases and dust.

We settle out of fear and we become prisoners of impossibility. Life is too short to settle. Leave settling to bad debt, court cases and dust...never settle in matters of the heart, business or ambition.

Lesson #10: Fear is, mostly, an illusion.

The things we paralyze ourselves with, rarely happen. We concoct these wild, crazy stories and possibilities in our minds that limit us. We are, often, our own worse enemies. Fear is the worst thing that will happen to us, reality isn't as painful (Barrie Davenport).

Lesson #11: The journey of success starts with one step.

Movement is the essence of life. To desire our life to remain unchanged would require us to be static when in reality there is no such thing as static.  We are movement machines, all of us. Learning to take the required steps for success, even when those around us aren’t cheering for us and the goal seems too far away in the distance to touch, we make strides every day, one step-at-a-time.

Here's to Chapter 32 and many more life lessons.